Thanks to our pup, Bella Mae, I start every day with a walk. No matter how cold, no matter how wet. I grumble when it’s time to get out of bed to take her, but once I’m out there, I’m grateful. Yes, even on the miserable mornings. I’m grateful because I see things I otherwise wouldn’t see. Spectacular sunrises. Spider webs dripping with dew. Puffs of fog floating above the pond behind our house. One morning I touched the skin of a snake that had been left behind in the grass.
The road that runs past our home has little to no shoulder and absolutely no bike lane, so to get a good walk in, Bella and I stroll through a cemetery near our home. Bella searches for places to do her business, I scan the headstones. Sometimes I do the math, trying to figure out how old someone was when they passed. Three identical headstones got my attention one day. They were for siblings–each born a year or so apart, none of whom had lived even a year.
These early morning cemetery walks have made me keenly aware that we die. Not in a morbid, woe-is-me way but in a please-let-me-live fully way.
The Social Security Administration’s life expectancy calculator estimates I’ll live until I’m 85.5 years old. If I really get that gift of 34.9 years, my only real hope is that I live it fearlessly, that I’m not on my deathbed saying, “I wish I had….”